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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Some Macro Shots around the yard..

Crape Myrtle "Tuscarora" 
Crape Myrtle "Zuni"

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) seed pod

Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) Bloom Head

Dwarf Caladium

Passiflora "Berkley" flower

Plumeria "Scott Pratt" Inflorescence 

Colocasia "Illustris"

Colocasia "Mojito"


Not sure what this one is, but butterflies LOVE it, they really can't get enough.

Spanish Flag Vine

Popcorn Plant (Senna didymobotrya) Bloom

Plumeria "Maya"

Some before and after pics.

Here's a few comparison pics. I love to compare how things have grown!

Back in July 

Today, about 6-7 weeks later

Pool area back in May

Pool area today…

Walkway back in May


Thanks for looking!

Late Summer Update on the Hardy Palms

There's only about a week left of Meteorological Summer so here's a little before and after on my hardy palm trees so far this season. This winter was a true zone 7, but not a true test of their cold tolerance since most of these are still protected (they are at a size where protection is so easy so it's worth it for me). Some palms in the area did not survive, but there are a few established unprotected palms that did (I know of a surviving trachy and sabal minor in the neighborhood)

Late May 2014

Same area today. Wish it looked like this all summer! 

My Mediterranean Fan palm 
March 2014 (it was protected most of the winter, but the lights did not turn on during the coldest night of 3F so it did see some intense, but brief zone 7 temperatures. In this picture it is already growing back since I purposely kept it warm in it's protection so it had a chance at a nice recovery.)

Late May 2014

Today. It still has not reached it's former glory, but it is getting close. If this winter is a mild one and the protection does not fail, it will be back to normal next summer.

My Potted Livistona in Early May 2014 after a winter inside my unheated garage.

It looks much happier today! 

My protected Trachycarpus (Windmill palm) was looking rough back in March

You can still see some damaged tips from the winter, but there are plenty of healthy fronds and it will keep on growing for another 2 months before winding down for winter.

March 2014- The protection also failed on my Sabal Minor during the coldest night of the winter and it did not receive as much protection as my Mediterranean fan palm, but it looked really rough coming out of the winter.

My Sabal is looking much greener today. It's a little smaller than last year, but that might not be a bad thing if you look at it's location so close to the path. I have lots of seeds this year from it! 

This Livistona was protected and it survived the winter with some green left on it. It's not looking as good as it has in past years, but the glossy fronds still give a beautiful look even when they aren't as plentiful as I would like. 

My Silver Mediterranean fan palm Today (Chamerops cerifera) benefited from the protection of the trachy and livistona to some extent, but it was not protected on its own. Parts of it were exposed for the entire winter and while those parts suffered spear pull, the spears grew back and it looks pretty good. This might be my hardiest palm, but of course it is still small and close to the ground so that also gives it an advantage to my trunking palms.

My old Trachy was in rough shape. Surprisingly the spear never did pull, but since it did terrible in that spot since the day I planted it, I took it out of it's misery and planted a new Trachy. The soil is completely new in this area and the new Trachy is looking very happy today! 

I've had terrible luck with Washingtonias in the past, but this one has done incredibly well for me this summer. I planted it in early - mid July and in just 6 weeks it has pushed up 4 fronds (the frond coming up in this picture is the 4th). This will be it's first winter and I plan on giving it a ton of protection so I can watch it get big next summer! 

Early Morning Hibiscus blooms.

Hibiscus are definitely one of the most beautiful flowers out there, but in my opinion, they are at their most beautiful just as they are opening up in the early morning hours. The colors are so nice and intense and the petals look so fresh. Here's some pics of my Hibiscus this morning…

Spanish flag bloom in the foreground and hibiscus bloom in the background.

Caught a nasty little yellow jacket on the bloom in this pic.

Yellow hibiscus are definitely my favorite.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Banana plant is getting big!

This plant was maybe 6 feet tall when I got it this spring. It has more than doubled in size in just a few months and the color of the leaves is hard to beat. The elephant ears growing below it are a cultivator that I have been trying to find for years, I finally found them available at a local nursery for 5 dollars each as tiny plants. They aren't tiny anymore though. I love this time of the year because all the tropicals are really at their best.

Bonus pic of my Cucuzza squash growing uncontrollably fast. If you are looking for a beautiful vine that doubles as something you can use in the kitchen, a Cucuzza might be your plant! 

As always, thanks for looking!